Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The 1st Question 67 - 29 Sep 09

This week's panel

Romane Levee, Wytchwhisper Sadofsky, Vento Shim, Varian Parx


It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.

If you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think.
Clarence Darrow

Word-UP of the week "Lindenaire's Disease": any number of conditions in Second Life which might be ascribed to anything Linden Lab's is currently doing to improve the grid.
Varian Parx

Special Word – Up phrase “Lindenairres with uranophobia must eat chittens or else they are effarious.”
Rocket Sellers

Audience Quote of the week – Is it appropriate to dress up as Santa for Halloween?
Troy McLuhan


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) Scottish invention time & my crush of the week- The digital television signal today can transmit pictures composed of up to 1,080 lines. That’s a long way from the first TV, demonstrated by this man in 1926. It used just 30 lines to create a coarse image. He is remembered today as an inventor (178 patents) way ahead of his time. Among his pioneering ideas were early versions of color tv, the video disc, televised sports, and pay TV by closed circuit.. His early television looked like a peep-show device, held together with scrap wood, darning needles, string, and sealing wax. Who was this tragic figure who often worked alone for lack of financial backing, lived to see his technical ideas superseded & was forgotten by the time he died at the age of 58?

2) He is considered by many to be the "father of chemistry." His ethnic background is not clear; although some sources state that he was an Arab,. He is held to be the first practical alchemist. His alchemical investigations ostensibly revolved around the ultimate goal of takwin — the artificial creation of life. The Book of Stones includes several recipes for creating creatures such as scorpions, snakes, and even humans in a laboratory environment, which are subject to the control of their creator. He is credited with classifying "Spirits" which vaporise on heating, "Metals", & Non-malleable substances, that can be converted into powders, such as stones. Who was this ancient Polymath?

3) This Staffordshire Hoard is perhaps the most important collection of Anglo-Saxon objects found in England. And it will make us think again about rising (and failing) kingdoms and the complicated transition from paganism to Christianity. Another surprising find happened in 1939 which contained an undisturbed 6th century ship burial including a wealth of outstanding artifacts And what might be references straight out of Beowulf a period of English history which is on the margin between myth, legend and historical documentation. It was found by someone Pretty, Edith May Pretty who owned the estate at the time of the discovery. What is the name of this famous find?

4) Re-using the millions of tons of plastic waste instead of burying, dumping or burning is a great idea. Ground-breaking oh yes, this gave its first public performance in Maryland recently and can be fed almost any petroleum-based waste plastic & convert it into synthetic light to medium oil for less than $10 per barrel. A reactor, converts waste plastic feedstock into oil and makes use of some of the by-products to power the unit. Vent gas is recycled to provide electricity and excess oil residue is transformed. Buy stock in….what company?

5) In the midst of overwhelming debate over climate change - an issue that seemingly paralyzes US politicians – this countries government has announced its intention to construct a 2-gigawatt solar power plant. First Solar is the Arizona-based company constructing the plant, & magnitude of the development is many times greater than any solar plant in operational or considered. If successful, it will cover a staggering 25-square miles, cost billions of dollars and power 3 million homes. In what country?

6) Meat essentially consists of animal muscle. The process of developing in vitro meat involves taking a muscle cell from an animal through a biopsy and joining the cell with a protein that helps the cell to grow akin to the production of yogurt cultures. The development of in vitro meat originally arose out of experiments conducted by NASA. And is cleaner and less prone to disease and contamination than meat garnered from livestock. Who was it that said in the 1930s, "Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium."

7) Biomimetics is the science of applying nature's principles to human engineering and design. The concept is actually quite old - the Chinese wanted to make artificial silk 3,000 years ago, and Leonardo da Vinci copied the wing principles of birds. The most commercial application of Biomimetics has been the development of Velcro. Now, with advances in technology and the need for sustainable technologies, it is fuelling a scientific revolution. A new smart-fabric derived from the properties of this has been developed in the UK. The fabric adapts to changing temperatures by opening up when warm and shutting tight when cold just like these do in nature, what does this smart clothing mimic?

8) A thought-controlled bipedal combat robot will be entered into the 16th Robo-One gladiatorial tournament. The robot will be controlled by its creator who controls the robot with, his own thoughts, gathered by a set of electrodes applied to his head that measure his neural activity. The robot is able to walk forward, rotate right and use its single arm for stabbing attacks. "As this is the first neural signal-controlled combat robot, I hope a lot of people will get to know about it," its inventor said. Training involves repeatedly giving the necessary mental commands to his robot.. In what country is Robo-One held?

9) The first school in the United States to base its entire curriculum around gaming has opened. Quest to Learn (Q2L) will use games such as LittleBigPlanet, Civilization and Spore to teach students—about 25 sixth graders at first—everything from the value of teamwork, how to think strategically and even about the price of war. It 's website sounds like the description for a real-life Jedi academy The school received $1 million in funding from the Gates Foundation, Intel and the MacArthur Foundation, and that will carry the school until 2015,. In what city is this school underway?

10) Red velvet, check. Mechanized base, check. Built-in massage, check. Covered LED canopy lights, check. 32-inch LCD television, check. Vanity mirror, check. Comfortable mattress, oh yeah -Frikkin' kickass champagne cooler? CHECK. What am I talking about here?

11) He rose from obscurity and successfully navigated the shady world of early Russian privatization to become one of the world's wealthiest self-made billionaires. His 40-man private army make him one of the best-protected businessmen in the world, and when his private gigayacht the Eclipse is handed over in time for Christmas, it will be the largest (at a staggering 560ft) and the most expensive (at $1.2 billion). Security will be tight, with missile defence and intruder detection systems - but the Eclipse's most notable feature is a privacy system that can detect the digital cameras of snooping paparazzi and blind them with laser bursts, ruining spy photos. Who is this man with the armor plated bulletproof master bedroom?

12) Heinz Kaminski from Bochum, Germany, who was the first one in the western world listening to Sputnik 1 in 1957. Earth-Moon-Earth, is a radio communications technique which relies on the propagation of radio waves from an earth-based transmitter directed via reflection from the surface of the moon back to an earth reciever. The moon must be visible in order for EME communications to be possible. In 1969, a radio technician was able to use home-built equipment to listen in on the Apollo 11 transmissions. What is the EME also known as?

13) Mexican artist Gilberto Esparza has created a series of robot sculptures. The robots are created entirely from recycled materials; one of his creations takes power from electrical wires and reacts to light sources as well as noises and cell phone signals. inspired by Mexico City street vendors who take power from nearby electric power poles to juice their roadside stalls. Another creation is the Solar Nomad Plant. This is a plant carried in a mobile cart toward available sunlight. The robotic cart apparently feeds off the energy created by decaying bacteria in the polluted water that in turn nourishes the plant. What are these robotic sculptures called?

14) He is included in a list of "The Ten Most Influential People of the Second Millennium”, and it is his contribution which stopped the medical practice of bloodletting as he who was the first in the Western world to describe correctly and in exact detail the systemic circulation and properties of blood being pumped around the body by the heart. He was Physician to James 1 & when the king died His research notes were destroyed in riots in London at start of the English Civil War. He was an English physician of great reknown, who was he?

P:15) The story describes a world in which almost all humans have lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth,. Each individual lives in isolation in a standard 'cell', with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine- Clearly, even in 1909 the author was deeply concerned we were in danger of becoming unable to live without the technology we created. The story predicted several technological and social innovations, such as the 'cinematophote' (television) and videoconferencing. The author also sought to establish the value of direct experience. This shows remarkable foresight, and the book describes many nuances of "online life" over 60 years before the Internet was even invented. The story is called “The Machine Stops” who wrote this cautionary sci-fi novel?

H:16) Scientists trying to model a range of processes could ‘borrow’ a chip from this to get all the power and capabilities they need, saving thousands of dollars on parallel processing hardware and/or countless man-hours. Dr Simon Scarle studying abnormal electrical activity in the heart needed to conduct simulations of how electrical excitations moved. For the cost of a few hundred pounds, he was able to conduct much the same scientific modeling as several thousand pounds of parallel network PCs by taking a chip off of a what?

P: 17)A glass casting method has been revived and developed into a technique to manufacture glass objects from fine glass powder using computer-aided design and a 3-D printer.. This new method bears a striking resemblance to a glass casting technique first developed by the ancient Egyptians and now known as "pate de verre" in which finely crushed glass was mixed with a binding material such as gum arabic and water, deposited on a negative mould to form a coating, and then fused.. What is this significantly cheaper process to precisely manufacture glass structures in various shapes called bringing this ancient method to the digital age?

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